Cookbook Review - Ivan Ramen by Ivan Orkin

Release Date - October 29, 2013

Ivan Orkin
Ten Speed Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

Years ago, shortly after her death, I watched a movie (Ramen Girl) starring Brittany Murphy who, while dealing with a break up, enters a Japanese ramen shop and falls madly in love with the dish. She becomes obsessed with learning how to cook it, but the owner/chef doesn't want an apprentice. She persists and he gives her a job cleaning the restaurant. Her persistence eventually pays off, and he starts teaching her the art. I remember the one comment I had was "Why can't we have real ramen here?"

Since then, my area has seen a ramen restaurant open, very recently in fact, but I can't get past the dozens of reviews that state the chef uses dried ramen noodles. That's not what I expected, so I haven't been. My heart longs for a taste of real ramen, and thanks to Ivan Orvin's new book, I'll have that chance.

Ivan Ramen is part autobiography and part cookbook. The writing is fresh and witty, so that immediately drew me in. Then I hit the recipes and started planning. It gives me the guidance I need to cook ramen from scratch. That's more like it!

What amazed me is how well the author drew me in to his life in Asia and his first experiences with ramen. After reading Ivan Ramen, I found myself longing for that same experience. Financially, that's not in the cards at that point, but cooking ramen at home is going to be the next best thing. Kudos to Ivan Orkin for sharing his story and making homemade ramen seem like a very reasonable kitchen adventure.


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